August 10, 2006

Domesday Book

Domesday Book is the first public record of England which was got prepared by William the conqueror in 1085.

I am making a note here because I have surveyed the history of Europe from Lower Middle Ages. In India, the pre-Renaissance period of Europe is generally taught as the Dark Ages. However, from various references I had come to a conclusion that it was not the right interpretation. On the other hand, I found that many changes in the intellectual field which were showed as the causes of the Renaissance or defined as Renaissance itself, had taken place quite earlier in the Middle Ages. I had collected some references to the literary work of that period. I had also made a post "Was Middle Ages in Europe a Dark Age?". My conclusion was confirmed when I shared my opinion on H-Net. Frank Conlon was kind enough to introduce me to another expert on European history. From there, I learned that the European researchers as well American historians had already reached that conclusion. Since then, I am always in look out for examples wherein I try to collect such references where some major administrative work, or literary work or some scientific development had taken before the Renaissance period. In other words, I try to check that how the civilization developed in Middle Ages in the field of literature, science, and cultural sphere. No doubt, I am bit hindered by limitation of knowing only one European language that is English.

It is not that I am interested in European history as such. In India, we try to depict Gupta period as a Golden Age. But after that, there was gradual decline in the cultural, social and intellectual sphere in India. I always fear that some intelligent student may ask that if India had reached a zenith of intellectual and technological achievement in the works of Aryabhatta, Charak, Sudrak, and intellectual field in works of Kalidasa, Vishakhadatta, Samhita of Yakvalkya, Narad, Vishnu etc, then it did not keep that pace of development of civilization. Why was there a general decline? Is it true that any advance in intellectual field does not assure continuos development? Therein, I have learned that somewhere we are interpreting our history wrongly. On the other hand, India was always in forefront of economic development during the Middle Ages of Europe. It was because of this attraction that people like Ghazni to Babur invaded India. It is now nicely elaborated in ‘India and World Civilization’ by D. P. Singhal. I believe that there was regular march of civilization in Europe, Asia and Africa (North Coast) towards progress. There is need to study and rewrite the history of this period. It is this interest and endeavour that had made me to make a note of this book here. (I am deriving a lot from the postings of Miland Brown.)

Now here is another example from England wherein it is showed that the Europe was not that uncivilized and the kings had the plans and ideas of undertaking the administrative work. There is no need to emphasize the exclusive place to Englightened Monarchs like Louis XIV and Ferdinand II.

Reference: National Archives of UK
Alecto Publications
Domesday Post on World History Blog

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